We called him “quokka”. When you see even a picture of Quokka, many people think it is a new creature or a created creature. Quokka is endemic to Australia. A significant quokka population lives on the Australian island of Rottnest.
Who is Quokka?
The quokka is about the size of a cat, with a tail as long as a mouse, and a kangaroo-like beak to carry small cubs. This cute animal with its furry body also contributed to the development of the tourism industry on Rottnest Island.
Quokka, a member of the kangaroo and wolf family, has a lifespan of about 10 years. They give birth to only one calf at a time, and twice a year. This calf lives in its mother’s womb for about 6 months. Quokka is a herbivorous animal as well as a kangaroo. Their skin is dark brown and weighs 2.5 – 4.5 kg for males and 1.5 – 3.5 kg for females. Quokka, scientifically known as Setonix brachyurus, is about 40 – 55 cm tall.
Quokka is thought to have been named after an indigenous tribe in Australia. In their language, they first called this cute creature “Gwaga“, but over time they became known as “Quokka”.
Quokka is also an animal that can climb trees. They spend most of the day among the trees and bushes and can swim too.
History of Quokka
According to written history, Quokka was first mentioned around 1656. Quokka is mentioned in the diary of Samuel Wolcatsoon, a Dutch captain who explored the country at the time. About three years later, explorer William de Vlamin mistakenly identified them as a species of giant rat, naming the island ‘Rat Nest’. That is why the island is still known as ‘Rottnest’.
Why is Quokka always laughing?
The main reason Quokka differs from other animals is that Quokka’s pet has a beautiful smile. The real reason for that Quokka is not really laughing. Quokka’s laughter is an evolutionary trait.
Quokka laughs because the dogs keep their mouths shut. Quokka lowers their high body temperature in hot Australia by taking it wide open and sniffing. That’s why they seem to smile so often.
A few decades ago Quokkas are not popular with human. Today, however, it is common for people to associate with Quokka because of the tourism industry. Due to Quokka’s pet and cute appearance, many tourists like to take selfies with Quokka, and in recent times it has become very popular. As such, many of the photos taken under the hashtag #quokkaselfie were shared on social media. Even celebrities have joined the trend and posted pictures. This was aimed at educating the community about Quokka and conserving them, while others suggested that it could adversely affect Quokka’s safety.